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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

A LAUREL PARK NEW YEAR

Today’s featured 6th race from Laurel Park has somewhat unique conditions. Nothing unusual about optional claiming allowances but the NX1 portion only applies to state-breds. Winning open races doesn’t disqualify a horse from competing at the preliminary-allowance state-bred level.

Usually, of course, it’s the other way around; state-bred victories don’t work against horses in open company, but this race was written for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired horses. Interesting; live and learn.

On paper it’s a two horse affair. The classy Bunting (9-5) that just missed in a Maryland-bred stakes and won a NX1 open allowances here in October. Sandwiched between that and her open Safely Kept Stakes drubbing was a game second going a mile here NOV. 3. Class and fitness is tough to beat.

It’s not so much that we’re seeking value with Little Miss Raelyn (5-1), making her first start since January 25. But she has run well fresh–broke maiden on debut–and Jeremiah Englehart’s fresh horses almost always race well when returning from a 90-days+ layup, winning at a 20% rate.

But, no. The reason we’re taking her is because the win last January has to be seen to be believed. I saw it, three times, and still don’t believe it. While she contested a hot pace throughout, the favorite was perfect-tripping in the pocket behind embattled leaders.

After tipping three wide, the favorite took the lead and appeared to draw off by more than a length–inside the sixteenth pole. She might have lost focus, but wasn’t stopping. Still, ‘Raelyn’ continued digging and came back to win.

This wasn’t a head-to-head come-again win as is fairly common. She was beaten, and snatched victory from certain defeat.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this but the decision is yours. Check out the LAUREL LIVE VIDEO on the homepage; RACE 6 on JAN 25. She trained well, briefly joined the main division in New York, then shipped back here where she’s won twice in the past. Her most recent gate breeze in 48-flat was 2nd fastest of 125 peers to work that week in New York.

Early odds of 5-1 are a pipe dream; would bet her straight at half that price with Trevor McCarthy, and will box an exacta with Bunting.

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